Obama presses Congress with cyber security executive order


President Obama signed an executive order to increase America's defenses against cyber security before highlighting the need for it in his State of the Union Tuesday.

The Executive Order will work together with the Presidential Policy Directive on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience that the White House also released today.

"America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks," Obama said. "We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."

Obama focused on improving cyber security for the defense industrial base, which is one of the top targets for foreign hackers. His executive order streamlines the amount of information sharing within the U.S. defense industrial base on real time cyber threats.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will also work with companies to make sure that best practices are shared throughout the nation's corporate infrastructure.

"I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy," Obama said.

The president's order also directs government agencies to review cyber security regulations. Dated regulations must be replaced by more modern ones to keep up with the evolving issue, the president directs.

Congress tried to pass cyber legislation twice last year. The  Cybersecurity Act failed the second time in November although Republican and Democrat lawmakers claim it has bipartisan support.

"Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks," the president said Tuesday.

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